Homa Bay: Not just fistfights, also big development problems

Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti during the launch of Gendia Kadongo road on March 25 2014.Pix Habil Onyango
Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti during the launch of Gendia Kadongo road on March 25 2014.Pix Habil Onyango

Homa Bay has always been in the news for the bad and the good deeds mostly by the County Executives.

At the onset of the Devolution, Governor Cyprian Awiti who is now surviving with stay orders by the Supreme Court surprised many Kenyans with huge investment opportunity the County secured.

Homa Bay was the first County among the 47 Counties to hit the headline when it struck a deal with an Investor totalling to Sh560billion.

Awiti was rated as the best performing due to a number of foreign investors who were ready spend their huge cash in the County.

However as it emerge six years later after the Devolution comes to action,It is now emerging that Awiti’s government was duped by the “investors” since there is no even a single completed project on the ground.

As other Counties prosper in constructing industries, building major health facilities, improving the lives of youths, giving residents access to clean water, tarmacking new roads, providing new farming technologies to farmers, building modern stadiums, Homa Bay is still “building foundation”

Homa Bay has already received over Sh26B for since the devolution started however having a look at what the money has yielded its pathetic.

Auditor general querries

Auditor General Edward Ouko has for the past raised Audit queries over various projects and unexplained spending in the County.

The County government takes pride of opening of new access roads,tarmacking of Gendia Kadongo road, equipping and upgrade of Homa Bay hospital, upgrade of Homa Bay stadium, solar market projects, however this can only be realized on papers.

For instance, Gendia Kadongo road was first awarded to the Oasis groups, an American based construction before they vanished.

The County government lost over Sh123million on the construction of 33km road which was to be upgraded to bitumen standard in 2014/2015 FY before the termination of the contract

According to Ouko’s report the tender was awarded in 2013/2014 at a cost of SH3,389,587500 however by the time of the termination of the contract ,the contractor had been paid a total of Sh110million while the consultant Sh13,257,350.

The contract was awarded to American based construction company M/S Oasis group International (contractor) and GA Consultants Limited (contractor) before it was re-tendered to other local contractors.

It was however re tendered to three local companies at a cost of Sh607,270,372 where each of the company was to do 11kms

However the project which was to take a duration of three months, almost four years down the line,it has never been completed and the already done part has not been done as expected.

“At the time of physical verification on December 15 2017 furniture works costing Sh23.9Million was yet to be installed and Pepeta Holdings had not tarmacked 3KM of its section,” reads the report.

“Further, the road seemed not to have been done to expected standard as some sections had cracks and had peeled off before the works were completed,” added Ouko.

“As is evident, completion of the works unduly and this may occasion escalation of cost, further defects on work done, if any, are unlikely to be corrected since the County Executive has not made provision on the court case which were not availed for audit verification and on money relating to the contract that was lost through fraud in the year 2014,” added Ouko.

There have been complaints by a number of leaders and residents over the status of the Homa Bay County Referral despite being allocated Millions of Shilling every financial year.

At one point the Assembly health committee made an impromptu vist th the facility where they discovered that the facility had no even ARV drugs besides being infested with bed bugs.

The hospital hate which was allocated Sh1,500,000 for construction is yet to be completed.

Governor missing in action,Petition to the President.

Awiti has been missing from the County for almost three months now under what is said to be under health complications.

A civil organization has already petitioned the President to disband the County government abd constitute an independent team to run the County affairs.

According the Bubge la Wenye Nchi Speaker Walter Opiyo they presented the petition to President Kenyatta over what they term failure by the County leadership to account for the money set for development.

Awiti too is waiting for the outcome of the Supreme Court ruling where he appealed aginst the High court decision to nullify his re election in August 7 2017 general elections and election petition which was filed by the former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga.

At the County Assembly, it is always wrangles, harassment, misuse of Public resources, leadership wrangles and nothing is ongoing or achieved since the 60 members got into the office.

The MCAs have even ousted the Speaker Elizabeth Ayoo before being reinstated by the Court of law in Kisumu.

Worse still almost 13 MCAs have been arrested and charged in Kisumu for various offences, they have however been released on bond

Other current and former Assembly officials who include Clerk Bob Kephas and senior Principal accountant Maurice Amek ,Chief Finance Officer Caroline Sang,Edwin Okello (cashier) are under suspension after allegedly misappropriated Sh27.8Million.

Other accused are Owino Ooro(former majority leader),Judith Omogi (nominated MCA)Isaac Nyandedge (former Minority leader)

According to Magwanga the County is in its death bed as only few have turned to overnight millionaires.

He said some County officials have stolen from the Public coffers and are able to run the County from their accounts.

He accused a senior County official of being behind the Assembly wrangles as an effort to clinch into power in case the supreme court uphold the lower court ruling which nullified Awiti’s re election.

“Homa Bay is a unique County of its own, only few are benefitting from the devolution,” said the former MP